Sacramento- A team of investigators from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today took part in an early morning search and seizure operation at McKenna BMW at 10900 and 10850 Firestone Boulevard in the Los Angeles County city of Norwalk.
The raid came as a result of information that employees of the dealership allegedly submitted fake contracts to various Southern California banks to obtain fraudulent loans and pocket the proceeds from the loans.
DMV investigators assisted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Regional Auto Theft Prevention Task Force (also known as TRAP) in the execution of a search warrant at the McKenna BMW facilities. In addition to DMV investigators, Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies, local police officers, the California Highway Patrol and the California Bureau of Automotive Repair were involved in the large-scale operation- some 30 law enforcement personnel in all. Members of the task force impounded the dealership's computer system and a large number of file boxes full of sales documents. No initial arrests were made.
DMV investigators were involved because the Department licenses vehicle dealerships. This is the second high-profile raid of a Southern California dealership in two years. In October 2000, the DMV charged Gunderson Chevrolet, the largest Chevrolet dealership in California at the time, with defrauding customers by a scheme known as "price packing," whereby the cost of theft protection programs or extended warranties were added to the total sales price without the customer's knowledge or voluntary consent.
As part of that earlier global settlement, Gunderson Chevrolet was ordered to pay $900,000 in a monetary settlement jointly to the DMV and the Los Angeles County District Attorney, pay restitution to consumers estimated at over $1 million, close its sales department for six consecutive days, have its dealer license on probationary status for the next four years, remunerate DMV $200,000 for investigative and legal costs, and be permanently enjoined from violating the laws as alleged in the complaints.
DMV Supervising Investigator Greg Huber of the Harbor Area Command has been advising TRAP with the McKenna case and played a major role in the Gunderson Chevrolet investigation as well.
"This is yet another example of how seriously we take our mandate to protect the consumer public from any kind of alleged fraud or misconduct", said Steven Gourley, the Director of the DMV. "We are ready and willing to assist and support any law enforcement agency at any time or any place in their efforts to weed out vehicle-related crime."
The DMV licenses drivers; maintains driving records; registers and tracks official ownership of vehicles and vessels; investigates auto and identity-related fraud; and licenses car dealers, driving schools, and traffic violator schools. The Department is under the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, which is under Secretary Maria Contreras-Sweet. Additional information about the DMV is on the Department's Web site, which is located at www.dmv.ca.gov.
from above website, DMV News Release